Project Description

Thai Chicken Balls

When Thai food became popular in Australia, Thai fish cakes were all the rage. Thai Chicken Balls uses chicken instead of fish, while deep-frying keeps it wonderfully moist. To reduce the fat content, they can also be baked.

Makes: 24 balls
Preparation time: 20 minutes + optional chilling time
Cooking time: 10 minutes


Nam Jim

4 large coriander (cilantro) roots
3 red chillies, seeds removed
15 eschalots, peeled
4 cloves garlic, peeled
155 g (5 oz) palm or brown sugar
3/4 cup (6 fl oz) fresh lime juice (4-5 limes)
2 1/2 tablespoons (1 1/2 fl oz) sauce
1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves, optional

Chicken Balls

1 stalk lemon grass, finely sliced
2 kaffir lime leaves, sliced
2 cloves garlic
3cm (1 1/2in) knob ginger
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
2 tablespoons fish sauce
625g (1 1/4 lb) chicken breast, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
5 tablespoons (100 ml) coconut cream
Grapeseed, peanut or rice bran oil, for deep frying


  1. Make nam jim first.  Combine coriander, chilli, eschalots, garlic and sugar in a food processor, then blend in lime juice and fish sauce. Set aside. Stir through coriander leaves if using just before serving.
  2. Heat oil into a depth of 5cm (2in) in deep-sided saucepan over high heat.
  3. Finely chop lemon grass, lime leaves, garlic and ginger in food processor. Add curry paste and fish sauce and combine. Add chicken and sugar; process until fine, scraping down sides of the bowl at least once. With motor running, add coconut cream and combine well.
  4. As this mixture is rather wet (if you rest in the refrigerator, it will become a little firmer), roll a teaspoon over and under mixture to form a quenelle shape (egg shape) and drop into hot oil. Cook in batches for about 3 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Alternatively, spoon mixture into small non-stick muffin tins, dot a little coconut cream on top and bake in a moderate oven, 180°-190°C (350°-375°F, Gas Mark 4) for 8 minutes.
  5. Serve immediately with nam jim.

Wine: The spicy yet light flavours here are best with a riesling, sauvignon blanc or gewurztraminer.

Recipe from Lyndey Milan, The Best Collection (New Holland 2009, 2013)